Thursday, 25 July 2013


The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation has teamed up with another local charity, Daft as a Brush, Cancer Patient Care, to jointly fund a new cancer patient ambulance.

The ambulance will transport patients from across the North East and Cumbria, free of charge, to use services at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.

It is one of a fleet of 13 Daft as a Brush ambulances and has been ‘adopted’ by pupils at High Spen Primary School in County Durham who have named it Reach for the Stars.

Lady Elsie Robson and Brian Burnie, Daft as a Brush Trustee, visited the school to thank the pupils for their support and enthusiasm.  It was also a chance for everyone to see the new ambulance, which features artwork by Marianne Murphy, aged 9, a Year 4 pupil at the school.

Brian Burnie says: “It was a very pleasant and moving day in the sun.  Wonderful seeing all the children around the ambulance and the enthusiasm to see their ambulance in the school yard.”

The Daft as a Brush ambulances have been running since March 2011.  Driven by a team of dedicated volunteers, they collect cancer patients from their homes and drop them off at the door of the Northern Centre for Cancer Care.

Lady Elsie says: “We were very pleased to be able to jointly fund this new ambulance.

“When you’re ill, the last thing you want to worry about is transport to and from the hospital for treatment and Daft as a Brush provide a hugely valuable service for cancer patients across the north east.

“We had a hard time picking a name from those thought up by the High Spen pupils.  There were so many wonderful ideas.  In the end, we chose Reach for the Stars because it seemed appropriate given everything we’re been able to achieve through Bob’s Foundation.

“And we’re very grateful for the fantastic support we continue to receive which means we’ll be able to do so much more in the future too.

“I had a very enjoyable morning at High Spen Primary and it was good to see the new ambulance all ready to go.  In fact, we were told it was going straight from the school to collect patients, which was good to hear.”

The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation contributed £7,500 to help fund the ambulance and was greatly appreciated by all those working at the cancer charity. It costs over £300,000 per year to run the Daft as a Brush service, which is funded entirely from voluntary contributions.

Andrew Firth, head teacher at High Spen Primary School, says: “We were delighted to welcome Lady Elsie and the Daft as a Brush team to High Spen this morning.  The children are rightly proud that their art work will soon be brightening the day of ‘Very Important Patients’ around the north east.

“Unfortunately, like many schools, High Spen has been hit by cancer in the past. Sadly we are all too aware of the devastation it brings. Through adopting our own ambulance, ‘Reach for the Stars’, our children have been allowed to feel they really can have a positive impact on the wider community.

“Our school motto ‘Looking out for each other’ has been amended for the purposes of the ambulance to ‘Looking out for everyone’. We soon hope to see the amazing group of Daft as a Brush volunteers using the High Spen ambulance to make the life of people facing tough treatments a little easier.”

Wednesday, 24 July 2013


Ashes excitement will reach fever-pitch in the north east in less than three weeks time, when the England and Australia cricket teams head north to compete for the urn for the first time in the region. 

It will be an extra special test for two time Ashes winner and Durham CCC fast bowler, Stephen Harmison, and his Benefit Committee is celebrating the historic event by holding a black tie dinner on 6th August – just three days before the inaugural Ashes test at the Emirates Durham International Cricket Ground.

The Stephen Harmison Benefit Ashes Dinner, at the Newcastle Gateshead Hilton Hotel will be headlined by Stephen’s former international team mate Andrew Flintoff.

Andrew continues to be a key supporter, not only of Stephen’s Benefit Year, but of the two charities which it will in part benefit – the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and The Professional Cricketers Association (PCA) Benevolent Fund.
Martin Filson, Benefit Committee chairman, said: “The Ashes is very special to every cricket fan but it’s also played a big role in Stephen and Andrew’s careers.  They have had some incredible times playing together against Australia, there have been some really memorable moments.  And I’m sure we’ll hear about one or two of those on the night!”

Sir Bobby Robson had a significant influence on Stephen early on in his career, allowing the young bowler to train behind closed doors at Newcastle United before he went on tour with England team to Jamaica in 2004. 

During that tour, Stephen reached his full potential recording what would be his career best bowling figures.  It was an important feat in the lead up to England’s greatest recent summer and the 2005 Ashes win on home soil.

Martin adds: “The Benefit is helping support the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, which shows how appreciative Stephen was of Sir Bobby’s support from the early stages in his career.

“The charity enables a lot of important research into the treatment of cancer to take place and I can see why Stephen wanted to support it so keenly.”

Andrew Robson, Sir Bobby’s son, is attending the Ashes Dinner as well as supporting a sell-out Stephen Harmison Benefit Committee Dinner with his two brothers later in the year at Lords.

Andrew says: “Dad was a huge cricket fan and a good friend of Stephen.  My family was very touched when he told us he wanted to help support the work of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation through his Benefit Year.

“Like Mum said at the time, it’s always special when one of Dad’s former players does something to support us and, even though Stephen’s not a footballer, that’s how this feels.

“This Ashes series has been extremely entertaining so far, although the Australians might not agree.  It’s sure to make the dinner a lively evening and I’m very much looking forward to it.”

Stephen’s Benefit Year Committee has already organised a golf day and T20 game in the region and a dinner at Lords, a second golf competition and festive race day are all planned for this year.

Tickets are still available for the Stephen Harmison Benefit Ashes Dinner on 6 August at the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead.  Tickets are priced at £80. 

For more information, or to book, please email or contact Yvette Thompson on 07960 215333.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013


-    A National Football Day in Sir Bobby Robson’s honour created for 150th anniversary of The FA  -

The Football Association has today unveiled full plans for The Sir Bobby Robson National Football Day on Saturday 10 August 2013 – a call for people to come together in celebration of the nation’s favourite game and one of English football’s most iconic figures.

The day will see 150 events taking place across the country as part of The FA’s 150th anniversary celebrations - providing a showcase of The FA’s work at a grassroots level and giving the entire nation the opportunity to get involved with the sport. The events, being held by County FA’s  and FA Charter Standard Clubs, will be open to people of all ages and abilities, with the public able to join in everything from tournaments, to skills sessions and coaching workshops. The day will provide a focus on every aspect of the game including women’s football, disability football, refereeing and coaching.

A highlight of the day will be at the Sir Bobby Robson Football Centre in Ushaw Moor, County Durham, near to where the former England manager played as a youngster. The event will be attended by Lady Elsie Robson and will involve various activities including a children’s football tournament, a coaching clinic, skills sessions, and the chance to try out futsal. The FA will also make a donation on the day to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, the charity he established during the last 18 months of his life to fight cancer.

Lady Elsie Robson, Sir Bobby’s widow, said: “I’m sure Bob would have been thrilled having a National Football Day named in his honour.

“He was always so incredibly passionate about football.  He just loved it, whatever level it was being played at.  He was lucky enough to play and manage at the top of the game but he was just as enthusiastic talking to youngsters about their junior club matches.

“It’s a lovely gesture from the FA and we’re very grateful for their generous support of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation too.”

Former England captain and patron of The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, Alan Shearer said: “Sir Bobby sums up everything that is great about English football. From elite success – guiding England in their best World Cup showing on foreign soil and top club honours in England, Spain, Portugal and Holland – to his love for the grassroots game and natural affinity with the fan in the street. On a national and international level, his contribution to football cannot be underestimated.”

Other planned events for 10th August include a women’s football festival at the home of English football, St George’s Park, a beach soccer event in Dorset, a Respect event at Netherton United in Peterborough, and a tournament and coaching session at AC Paulista FC in Lewisham, London. Many of the events have been planned and will be managed by county FA youth councils and volunteer coaches– just some of the people who form part of the huge volunteer network of 400,000 people in grassroots football.

A number of famous faces who knew Sir Bobby Robson, including Alan Shearer, Gary Lineker and Pep Guardiola have taken part in a short film to launch National Football Day. The film can be viewed here:

To find out more Sir Bobby Robson National Football Day and your local event and The FA’s work developing football for everyone, visit

Sir Trevor Brooking, The FA's Director Of Football Development, said: “The Sir Bobby Robson National Football Day has been created as part of our 150th anniversary celebrations to showcase the nation’s love for the game and the huge number of people who get involved in football every week, whether that’s playing, coaching, volunteering or refereeing. This day will shine a light on the sheer breadth of the nation’s favourite game and we hope it will encourage more people to get involved. Whether you visit one of the planned 150 events or simply head to your garden or local park with family and friends, there’s no better day to get into football.”

This October, the FA is once again supporting Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Auction.  Organised entirely by volunteers, this online auction will raise funds for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, Breakthrough Breast Cancer and cancer services within Suffolk Hospitals.  For more information about how to get involved please visit